Researchers at the University of Miami found that patients have a more active part of the brain that regulates pain when seen by a less reliable doctor. For them, the procedure was more intense and unpleasant.
Participants participated in the simulation of painful medical procedures with various virtual doctors that seemed more or less reliable. During the simulation, people’s brain activity was measured using functional MRI. Researchers compared responses to the painful procedure and participants’ personal ratings.
The scientists say their work has far-reaching implications for understanding differences in health.